Glossary

Active Tuberculosis

Active disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as evidenced by a confirmatory culture, or, in the absence of culture, suggestive clinical symptoms, including productive cough lasting more than three weeks, chest pain, hemoptysis, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and easy fatigability. Active TB is a communicable disease that is treatable, curable, and preventable. Persons with active TB disease should be under the care of a health care provider. Active TB disease may indicate immune deficiency. For HIV-infected persons, active TB disease is considered an opportunistic infection and a qualifying condition for AIDS.

Source: Women, Children and HIV


AIDS-defining illness

PCP is a pneumonia caused by the fungal organism Pneumocystis carinii (now renamed Pneumocystis jiroveci). This organism is common in the environment and does not cause illness in healthy people.

Source: Medicine Plus


Antibody

A protein found in the blood that is produced in response to foreign substances (e.g. bacteria or viruses) invading the body. Antibodies protect the body from disease by binding to these organisms and destroying them.

Source: The body


Antibody test

Any of several tests that detect antibodies in a person's blood (e.g. ELISA, 'Rapid test'). An antibody is a protein found in the blood that is produced in response to foreign substances (e.g. bacteria or viruses) invading the body. Antibody tests are often used to determine whether a person has been exposed to or infected by a virus.

Source: The body


Asymptomatic stage

The stage during HIV/AIDS progression where no symptoms are present. A person in the asymptomatic stage may appear well, but can still transmit the HI virus.

Source: The Body


Attenuated

Weakened or decreased. For example, an attenuated virus can no longer produce disease but might be used to produce a vaccine.

Source: Women, Children and HIV


Biomedical

Relating to the activities and applications of science to clinical medicine.

Source: Wordnet


Co-trimoxazole

Co-trimoxazole is an antibiotic combination of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole used in the treatment of a variety of bacterial infections. Co-trimoxazole is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline under the trade name Septrin®, by Hoffmann-La Roche as Bactrim®.

Source: Wikipedia


CD4 cell (also known as: T-helper cell)

A type of immune system cell that helps protect the body against infections. Also known as "T helper cells," CD4 cells activate other parts of the immune system response by telling other cells to perform their specific roles in fighting infection. Destruction of CD4 cells by HIV is the main way the virus weakens the immune system. A decreasing CD4 cell count means that an HIV+ person is at greater risk of getting opportunistic infections and illnesses.

Source: Medicine Net.com


CD4 count

The CD4 cell count is a laboratory marker of the strength of your immune system. It helps to determine how advanced your HIV disease is and to predict your risk of complications. Normal CD4 counts in adults range from 500 to 1200 cells per cubic millimeter (mm3) of volume. When a person is HIV infected, his/her CD4 count will slowly decrease. When the CD4 count is below 200 cells/mm3, a person is defined as having AIDS.

Source: Medicine Net.com


CD4 test

The CD4 test measures the number of CD4 cells in a blood sample. The CD4 cell count is a laboratory marker of the strength of your immune system. It helps to determine how advanced your HIV disease is and to predict your risk of complications. Normal CD4 counts in adults range from 500 to 1200 cells per cubic millimeter (mm3) of volume. When a person is HIV infected, his/her CD4 count will slowly decrease. When the CD4 count is below 200 cells/mm3, a person is defined as having AIDS.

Source: Avert


Cellular immune response

The actions of T and B cells in the immune system.

Source: EverythingBio.com


Didanosine

Didanosine, trade name Videx (also known as ddI), is an anti-HIV treatment in a class of drugs called nucleoside analogs. The body breaks down these drugs into chemicals that stop HIV from infecting uninfected cells in the body, but they do not help cells that have already been infected with the virus. As people with HIV lose CD4 cells — one of the immune system's main defenses — they become more likely to get infections and illnesses.

Source: AIDS Treatment Data Network; Graphic: Positively Aware 2005 HIV Drug Chart


Directly Observed Treatment

Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) or Directly Observed Therapy is watching the patient take his/her medication to ensure medications are taken in the right combination and for the correct duration. It is used for diseases such as tuberculosis or HIV to assure compliance and avoid drug resistance.

Source: Wikipedia


DNA

The double-stranded, helical molecular chain found within the nucleus of each cell. DNA carries the genetic information that encodes proteins and enables cells to reproduce and perform their functions.

Source: Malariavaccine.org


Efavirenz

Sustiva (also known as efavirenz) is a new anti-HIV drug in the class called Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs). Reverse transcriptase is a part of HIV required to infect cells in the body and make more virus. NNRTIs stop the reverse transcriptase from working properly.

Source: AIDS Treatment Data Network; Graphic: Positively Aware 2005 HIV Drug Chart


ELISA test

An HIV antibody test which until the introduction of the rapid test was the most commonly used type of test for screening. ELISA tests are more expensive than the rapid tests requiring skilled technical staff, equipment maintenance, and a steady power supply. A sample of blood is taken from the patient and sent to a laboratory. The results usually take one to three weeks.


First-line Therapy

The first type of therapy given for a condition or disease.

Source: St Jude's Children's Research Hospital


Genital herpes

A viral infection that causes a painful rash of fluid-filled blisters on the genitals; caused by the herpes simplex virus, it is transmitted by way of moist mucous linings in the genital area or the mouth; primarily transmitted through sexual contact.

Source: FamilyPractice.com


Gonorrhea

A bacterial infection transmitted by sexual contact, characterized by painful urination or a discharge from the penis or vagina, although women frequently have no symptoms.

Source: FamilyPractice.com


Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening blood-borne disease of the liver, which is transmitted primarily by sexual activity or exposure to blood. About 20 percent of those infected progress to chronic liver disease. A form of viral hepatitis, hepatitis B is quite common worldwide.

Source: Epidemic.org


Herpes Zoster

A painful infection with the varicella virus that normally causes chicken pox. The virus may be dormant for many years in the cells of the nervous system. When reactivated it appears on the skin in various locations as painful sores. Also called shingles.

Source: Women, Children and HIV


Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART)

The name given to treatment regimens recommended by HIV experts to aggressively decrease viral multiplication and progress of HIV disease. The usual HAART treatment combines three or more different drugs, such as two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and a protease inhibitor, two NRTIs and a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), or other combinations. These treatment regimens have been shown to reduce the amount of virus so that it becomes undetectable in a patient's blood.

Source: Women, Children and HIV


Informed Consent

Informed consent is a legal condition whereby a person can be said to have given consent based upon a full appreciation and understanding of the facts and implications of any actions, with the individual being in possession of all of his/her faculties (e.g. not mentally retarded or mentally ill), and his/her judgment not being impaired at the time of consenting (by sleepiness, intoxication by alcohol or drugs, other health problems, etc).

Source: Wikipedia


Immunogenicity

The ability to produce a detectable immune response.

Source: admin.lapublichealth.org/phcommon/public/glos/glospubdisplay.cfm


Immunemodulator

A substance that improves the performance of the immune system.


Lamivudine

Lamivudine, trade name Epivir (also known as 3TC), is an anti-HIV treatment in the class of drugs called Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs). The body breaks down these drugs into chemicals that stop HIV from infecting uninfected cells in the body, but they do not help cells that have already been infected with the virus. As people with HIV lose CD4 cells — one of the immune system's main defenses — they become more likely to get infections and illnesses.

Source: AIDS Treatment Data Network; Graphic: Positively Aware 2005 HIV Drug Chart


LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)

Also appears as GLBT (Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender).


MMC (Medical male circumcision)

Surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis in a medical setting.

Source: From Top to Bottom: sex positive approach for men who have sex with men, Health4Men/Anova Health Institute.


Monotherapy

Treatment with a single drug. Monotherapy is generally not used in HIV/AIDS treatment because the virus mutates quickly and can develop drug-resistant strains. (See Treatment: Antiretroviral Treatment)


MSM (Men who have sex with men)

The acronym MSM is used to describe men who have sex with other men who might not identify as homosexual or bisexual. In the case of homosexual men the risk behavior (having sex with other men) is connected to their sexual identity i.e. their choice of same sex sexual partner corresponds to their having sexual intercourse with other men. MSM refers to a high risk behavior that may or may not be connected to a particular sexual identity i.e. some MSM have a heterosexual sexual identity but still engage in the risk behavior of having sex with men.

Source: HIV/AIDS Reporting Manual (July 2010) The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


Nevirapine

Nevirapine (trade name Viramune) is one of a class of drugs called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) . Reverse transcriptase is a part of HIV required to infect cells in the body and make more virus. NNRTIs stop the reverse transcriptase from working properly. The recommended dosage of nevirapine is 200 mg once a day for the first two weeks, and then 200 mg twice a day thereafter. Nevirapine is also available as a liquid suspension for children.

Source: AIDS Treatment Data Network; Graphic: Positively Aware 2005 HIV Drug Chart


Opportunistic infections

Infections that are caused by organisms to which the body is normally immune. When the immune system is depressed or destroyed, as in AIDS, opportunistic infections can take hold.

Source: World Health Organisation


Pathogen

An agent of disease. A disease producer. The term pathogen most commonly is used to refer to infectious organism.

Source: Medterms


Person-years

Person years describes the length of time of experience or exposure of a group of people who have been observed for varying periods of time. It is the sum total of the length of time each person has been exposed, observed, or at risk.

For example, 100 people studied for one year, or 50 people studied for two years, are both equivalent to 100 person years of observation.

Person-years are often used to show incidence of HIV or opportunistic infections in a given sample of people. The incidence is usually worked out by dividing the number of people affected (e.g. died; developed an opportunistic infection; seroconverted etc), by the total number of person-years of observation or follow-up, to get an incidence per person-year. This is often multiplied by 100 to get incidence per 100 person-years.

An AIDS mortality incidence of 9.2 per 100 person years could mean that 92 out of a 1000 people observed over a one year period died. It could also mean 92 out of 500 people observed over a two year period died, or 184 out of 2000 people observed over a one year period died.

Person-years are often used when patients are observed for different lengths of time (e.g. because some die during the study) and thus their incidence-rate cannot be weighted equally (a person with HIV for 10 years will have more chance of gaining an opportunistic infection than one observed for three years and thus their incidence cannot be weighted equally).


Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia

PCP is a pneumonia caused by the fungal organism Pneumocystis carinii (now renamed Pneumocystis jiroveci). This organism is common in the environment and does not cause illness in healthy people.

Source: Medicine Plus


Protease inhibitor

A kind of HIV medicine that stops HIV from making copies of itself by blocking the last step in the process. HIV's protease enzyme breaks apart long strands of viral protein into the smaller, separate proteins that make up the core of new virus. Protease inhibitors keep the enzyme from cutting up the long viral chain-and if the larger HIV proteins are not broken apart they can't make themselves into new HIV particles that can leave the CD4 cell and infect other cells.

Source: Wikipedia


Rapid Test

A type of HIV antibody test that takes about 10-30 minutes to provide a result. A drop of the patient's blood is placed in a test strip. In most instances a positive result is indicated by the appearance of a clearly visible dot or line. A positive result is confirmed through a confirmatory test using either another Rapid Testing kit (from a different batch) or an ELISA test.

Source: Department of Health


Retrovirus

A virus capable of altering the normal genetic writing process, causing the host cell to replicate the virus instead of itself. HIV is an example of such a virus.

Source: SexualCounselling.com


Ritonavir — boosted lopinavir

Lopinavir (trade name Kaletra) belongs to the class of anti-HIV drugs called protease inhibitors . Protease inhibitors work by blocking, or inhibiting a part of HIV called protease. When protease is blocked, copies HIV makes of itself are are unable to infect new cells. Kaletra is now approved for prescription. Kaletra is the sixth protease inhibitor to be approved for the treatment of HIV infection.

Source: AIDS Treatment Data Network; Graphic: Positively Aware 2005 HIV Drug Chart


RNA

A chemical similar to DNA from which proteins are made. Unlike DNA, RNA can leave the nucleus of the cell.

Source: BCM.edu


Second-line Therapy

Treatment that is given when initial treatment (first-line therapy) doesn't work, or stops working.

Source: St Jude's Children's Research Hospital


Seroconversion

Development of detectable antibodies to HIV in the blood serum as a result of infection.

It may take several months or more after HIV transmission for antibodies to the virus to develop. After antibodies to HIV appear in the blood, a person will test positive in the standard ELISA (see) test for HIV.

Source: American Social Health Association


Seroincidence

The frequency with which seroconversion [the production of antibodies to HIV] occurs in a population over a period of time as determined by the outcome of blood tests.

Source: Seattle and King County Public Health


Seronegative

Testing negative for HIV antibodies (i.e. the person is HIV-negative).

Source: En.Wikipedia


Stavudine

Stavudine (trade name Zerit, also known as d4T) is an anti-HIV treatment in the class of drugs called Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs). The body breaks down these drugs into chemicals that stop HIV from infecting uninfected cells in the body, but they do not help cells that have already been infected with the virus. As people with HIV lose CD4 cells cells — one of the immune systems main defenses — they become more likely to get infections and illnesses.

Source: AIDS Treatment Data Network; Graphic: Positively Aware 2005 HIV Drug Chart


Subtype

Also referred to as clade, a group of related HIV variants classified according to degree of genetic similarity.

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada


Syphilis

A disease, usually transmitted by sexual contact, whose initial symptom is a painless open sore that usually appears on the penis or around or in the vagina. If untreated, syphilis may go on to more advanced stages, including a transient rash and, eventually, serious involvement of the heart and central nervous system.

Source: University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital


Toxoplasmosis

An opportunistic infection caused by the microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, found in undercooked meat and cat feces.

Source: Aids Project Los Angeles


T-helper cell (also known as: CD4 cell)

A type of immune system cell that helps protect the body against infections. Also known as "T helper cells," CD4 cells activate other parts of the immune system response by telling other cells to perform their specific roles in fighting infection. Destruction of CD4 cells by HIV is the main way the virus weakens the immune system. A decreasing CD4 cell count means that an HIV+ person is at greater risk of getting opportunistic infections and illnesses.

Source: Medterms


Transactional sex

Transactional sexual relationships are sexual relationships where the giving of gifts or services is an important factor. This often occurs between a young woman and an older man.

Source: En Wikipedia


Viral load

Is the number of HIV particles (RNA) in a sample of blood. If your viral load measurement is high, it indicates that HIV is reproducing, and that the disease will likely progress faster than if your viral load is low.

Source: Aidsmap


Viral load test

In relation to HIV, a test that measures the quantity of HIV RNA in the blood. Results are expressed as the number of copies per milliliter of blood plasma. Research indicates that viral load is a better predictor of the risk of HIV disease progression than the CD4 count. The lower the viral load, the longer the time to AIDS diagnosis and the longer the survival time. Viral load testing for HIV infection is being used to determine when to initiate and/or change therapy.

Source: Aidsmap


Zidovudine:

Zidovudine, trade name Retrovir (also known as AZT or ZDV) was the first drug approved for the treatment of HIV. Retrovir is an anti-HIV treatment in a class of drugs called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). The body breaks down these drugs into chemicals that stop HIV from infecting uninfected cells in the body, but they do not help cells that have already been infected with the virus. As people with HIV lose T4 cells — one of the immune systems main defenses — they become more likely to get infections and illnesses.

Source: AIDS Treatment Data Network; Graphic: Positively Aware 2005 HIV Drug Chart